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How is a car shipped across the ocean?

Published by Joe Webster.

What's in this article?
  1. The Pivotal Role of Freight Forwarders in Car Transportation
  2. Car Preparation for Overseas Transport
  3. The Process of Containerization in Car Shipping
How is a car shipped across the ocean?

Shipping a car across the ocean primarily involves two methods: Roll-On/Roll-Off (RORO) and container shipping. In the RORO method, vehicles are driven directly onto the ship and secured within a designated deck area, ensuring safe transit. This method is generally more cost-effective and is widely used for its efficiency. Container shipping, on the other hand, involves placing the car inside a shipping container, providing enhanced protection against external elements. While this method is more secure, particularly for luxury or vintage cars, it often comes with higher costs compared to RORO.

Shipping a car across the ocean is a complex process that includes two predominant methods: Roll-On/Roll-Off (RORO) and container shipping. The RORO method is straightforward and economical, where vehicles are driven onto the ship and securely parked in a dedicated area. This method is preferred for its simplicity and cost-effectiveness. Container shipping provides added security, as cars are loaded into shipping containers, safeguarding them from external conditions. Although this method tends to be more expensive, it is ideal for transporting high-value vehicles that require extra protection.

The Pivotal Role of Freight Forwarders in Car Transportation

Freight forwarders specialise in shipping vehicles overseas. They are essential to an efficient and cost-effective global logistics network as intermediaries between shipping line runners and customers or companies exporting vehicles. They are indispensable to the trade community because they provide many services beyond vehicle transport.

Car Shipping Transit Damage

Freight forwarders handle everything from shipment documents to customs clearance, inland transport, and port transport. Their extensive knowledge of shipping protocols, import and export regulations, and international laws ensures that your vehicle meets all legal and official requirements of the exporting and importing countries. Thus simplifying a potentially complicated process and providing smooth vehicle shipping.

Car Preparation for Overseas Transport

Shipping a vehicle overseas requires paperwork, logistics, and thorough inspection. A smooth transfer requires good vehicle condition. An essential first step is cleaning the car inside and out. This helps find scratches, dents, and damage before shipping. Documenting them protects the owner from transportation damage claims.

Removing any personal items from the vehicle is another primary area of preparation. While using the vehicle as an extra shipping container may seem convenient, objects left inside can damage the car's interior during transit. Regulations from shipping companies also require the fuel tank to be only a quarter full to curtail potential risks during shipment. It is also recommended to disengage car alarms to prevent unnecessary complications on the journey. Regular car servicing is beneficial before transport to ensure that the vehicle has no fluid leaks or mechanical issues that might complicate the shipping process.

The Process of Containerization in Car Shipping

Containerisation vastly simplifies shipping cars overseas, providing added convenience and security. Designed to be efficient and resilient, automobile shipping containers offer protection against potential damage during transportation. These containers have standardised sizes, typically 20 or 40 feet, helping greatly in handling, transferring, and stacking them in shipping vessels, ports, and other transportation modes.

The process begins with securing the vehicle inside the thick-walled container. Depending on their sizes, cars can be placed in single or multiple configurations, with strapping systems used to prevent movement and associated damage due to shifting. The container doors are sealed and locked to guard against theft or tampering. It is inspected for structural integrity before being loaded into the ship. This systematised, secure approach makes containerisation a preferred method for car transportation across the globe.

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Joe Webster always knew the auto transport industry would be a great career option. And with decades of experience, Joe is now an established consultant for A1 Auto Transport.

Joe was born in Santa Cruz, California. During high school, Joe worked as a mechanic; a job continued to work part-time during his bachelor's degree.

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A-1 Auto Transport is a disclosed agent for the following shipping companies:

CSI Logistics
435 Division Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07201
FMC 22206
Intl Cargo
45 Campus Drive
Edison, NJ 08837
NO. 17858N
Trans Global Auto Logistics, Inc.
3401 E Randol Mill Rd,
Arlington, TX 76011
NO. 018191NF
CFR Rinkens
15501 Texaco Avenue
Paramount, CA 90723
NO. 013055NF
ABC Worldwide LLC
2840 NW 2nd Ave #105
Boca Raton, FL 33431
NO. 025472F
ShipYourCarNow LLC
1160 South Rogers Circle Suite 1
Boca Raton, FL 33487
NO. 025646
Merco Air & Ocean Cargo, Inc.
6 Fir Way
Cooper City, FL 33026
NO. 021869F
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